5 Best 30-06 Rifles in 2021

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Winner
Best Value
Rifle
BENELLI LUPO .30-06 SPFLD BOLT-ACTION RIFLE
SAVAGE MODEL 111 DOA HUNTER XP .30-06 RIFLE
REMINGTON 783 COMPACT 30-06 4 ROUND BOLT ACTION RIFLE
WEATHERBY VANGUARD SELECT 30-06 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE
BROWNING BLR LIGHTWEIGHT WITH PISTOL GRIP
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2021
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2021
Test Result 9.4/10 Very good June 2021
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good June 2021
Test Result 9.2/10 Good June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Bolt-Action rifle
  • Tight shooting groups, great accuracy
  • Ideal for hunting big game
  • Really clear optics of the scope
  • Can knock down even big game with a lot firepower
  • Nikon scope is very reliable & sturdy, can handle a lot recoil
  • Very easy to sight in, great for beginners
  • Smooth & reasonable recoil
  • Nice & clear image of the scope
  • Great accuracy
  • Awesome for hunting & target practice
  • Very powerful rifle
  • Bullets feeding is very reliable & faster than normal 30-06 rifles
  • Trigger pull is very smooth
  • Very good build quality
Cons
  • None
  • Trigger pull could be improved
  • On the heavier side
  • Scope should be added
  • Not for beginners
Recommended by us
Winner
Rifle
BENELLI LUPO .30-06 SPFLD BOLT-ACTION RIFLE
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Bolt-Action rifle
  • Tight shooting groups, great accuracy
  • Ideal for hunting big game
Cons
  • None
Recommended by us
Check Price
Best Value
Rifle
SAVAGE MODEL 111 DOA HUNTER XP .30-06 RIFLE
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Really clear optics of the scope
  • Can knock down even big game with a lot firepower
  • Nikon scope is very reliable & sturdy, can handle a lot recoil
Cons
  • Trigger pull could be improved
Recommended by us
Check Price
Rifle
REMINGTON 783 COMPACT 30-06 4 ROUND BOLT ACTION RIFLE
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.4/10 Very good June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Very easy to sight in, great for beginners
  • Smooth & reasonable recoil
  • Nice & clear image of the scope
Cons
  • On the heavier side
Recommended by us
Check Price
Rifle
WEATHERBY VANGUARD SELECT 30-06 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Great accuracy
  • Awesome for hunting & target practice
  • Very powerful rifle
Cons
  • Scope should be added
Recommended by us
Check Price
Rifle
BROWNING BLR LIGHTWEIGHT WITH PISTOL GRIP
Our Test Result
Test Result 9.2/10 Good June 2021
Value for Money
Performance
Pros
  • Bullets feeding is very reliable & faster than normal 30-06 rifles
  • Trigger pull is very smooth
  • Very good build quality
Cons
  • Not for beginners
Recommended by us
Check Price

Last updated: 05/15/2021

The 30-06 rifle could be the most often used weapon for big game hunting.

The 30-06 is difficult to beat for the shooter who needs a firearm qualified to take all sizes of big game. Since it is so common, there are a plethora of different versions to choose from.

Use this post as a reference when you are looking for the best 30-06 rifle.

Guide: How to find the best 30-06 Rifle

When shopping for 30-06 rifles, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Purchasing a new hunting weapon is often an important event. Choose wisely, and you’ll have a dependable firearm to bring on many good hunts. When looking for a 30-06 rifle, keep the following considerations in mind to help you make an informed choice.

Taking on the weight of the rifle

The weight of your weapon is important depending on the form of shooting you do. The weight of your gun is less critical if you’re seated in a treestand or hiding in a blind waiting for the monster whitetail buck to appear just before nighttime.

The same may be said for any stationary hunting or rested scenario. If you plan on covering a lot of land on your searches, stalking game over rough terrain, or struggling to bear a large load for whatever occasion, rifle weight becomes a critical consideration.

Also one pound less weight will make a significant change. Before you spend big bucks (the green kind) on a weapon that is either too heavy or too light for your needs, think of your usual hunting style as well as your physical health.

Compatibility in terms of optics

A high-quality scope will make a big difference when it comes to a 30-06 rifle. This is particularly valid if you like hunting at long distances, such as those seen on Western hunts. Iron sights, on the other hand, are also used on sporting rifles and are also very good for close-range hunting. In the East and South, you don’t require 10x magnification to search in the woodlots and farm fields.

If you choose to mount a lens, make sure the rifle you chose has a scope mount, a Picatinny rail, or the ability to accommodate aftermarket mounts.

Prepared to Take Action

When you think of a 30-06 rifle, you could picture a traditional bolt action with a wood stock and clean lines. While that kind of weapon is still available, the 30-06 rifle still comes with a variety of action types. Choosing the correct one requires careful consideration of the hunting style and requirements. Don’t be fooled by the salesman into buying anything you don’t need.

Best 30-06 Rifles in 2021

 I won’t go into detail about the distinctions between the various action types here, but suffice it to say that if you need or want a bolt action, lever action, or semi-auto 30-06 firearm, there are fantastic choice for you below in our ranking.

Potential for Heirlooms

This consideration would not extend to any hunter or sniper interested in purchasing a 30-06 weapon. Some of you would still be indifferent with this. However, given the 30-06’s prestige and status as a classic weapon, purchasing one with the intention of having it a family heirloom is a viable option to explore.

When I think of a rifle worthy of handing on, I think of classic style, a sleek wood stock, a silky smooth bolt action, and the scent of gun oil and gunpowder that has been developing for decades. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a lower-cost weapon, but there’s something sentimental about purchasing a rifle that would be passed on to the family for generations.

Review: The Best 30-06 Rifles

Without further ado, let’s get right to the point and look at the ratings of the strongest 30-06 rifles on the market today.

There are far too many 30-06 firearms on the market to mention them all, so I’ve tried to concentrate on a few versions that reflect a good cross-section of the 30-06 market.

The Best 30-06 Rifle: BENELLI LUPO .30-06 SPFLD BOLT-ACTION RIFLE

The Best 30-06 Rifle: BENELLI LUPO .30-06 SPFLD BOLT-ACTION RIFLE

Pros

  • Bolt-Action rifle
  • Tight shooting groups, great accuracy
  • Good for hunting big game
  • Protection of shoulders through recoil pad

Cons

  • None

What the Buyers reported

The majority of recent purchasers praised the rifle’s overall appearance. It reminded some people of a modern action Rifle.  According to one customer, the synthetic finish is very sturdy and looks cool.

Since it has bot,  a front and rear sight, they were able to strike objectives from 100 to 200 yards with pinpoint accuracy.

Why we recommend it

This rifle is as light as they come. Particularly for a hunting rifle with a lot of power. Nonetheless, it’s quite easy to wear during the day. It would allow hands-free carrying a lot simpler, even with a sling strapped to it. That is why we adore it and can’t get enough of it.

Who should buy it

This would be a favorite for many who dislike wearing bulky and inconvenient rifles. It can also be seen for hunters who want a weapon that can take out hogs, rabbits, and other large game, as well as waterfowl.

Who says a powerful rifle can’t be as light as this?

What, if anything, should be improved, and why?

We did not find anything.

Verdict

One of the finest hunting rifles in its class is the BENELLI LUPO .30-06 SPFLD BOLT-ACTION RIFLE. If you’re shopping for a rifle that’s incredibly light and performs like no other, you’ll want to take a closer look at this one.

To refute an old cliche, lightweight rifles have a lot of strength.

2nd Best 30-06 Rifle: SAVAGE MODEL 111 DOA HUNTER XP .30-06 RIFLE

Best 30-06 Rifle: SAVAGE MODEL 111 DOA HUNTER XP .30-06 RIFLE

Pros

  • Very accurate Shooting
  • Really clear optics of the scope
  • Great for Hunting
  • Able to knock down even big game with a lot firepower
  • Nikon scope is very reliable & sturdy, can handle a lot recoil

Cons

  • Trigger pull could be improved

What the Buyers reported

The majority of recent purchasers were pleased with this rifle. When they noticed the scope which is included, they became much more motivated to use it. The majority of them were hunters searching for a great rifle to take on their next game.

They were able to fire precise accurate shots from 600 to 700 yards out thanks to the lens. One person also claimed to have struck a whitetail deer with a single shot from that distance.

Why we recommend it

This rifle comes with a sight that offers not only pinpoint accuracy, but also the clearest optics in the industry. Nikon scopes are well recognised for their ability to do that.

There are a many scopes on the market claiming the same. This lens, on the other hand, can provide you with a large field of view, high-quality image pictures, and sharpshooting capacity.

Who should buy it

This is for the shooter who wants a hunting weapon that is reliable straight out of the rack. You would, though, need to sight it in before you can prepare it for the major chase. But make no mistake: once you’ve had everything lined up and ready to go, you’ll feel more secure about catching the next big game.

What, if anything, should be improved, and why?

Although the additional reach is useful, let’s spice things up by adding a sling. Yes, it has swivel studs to accommodate most slings.

However, it will be a useful addition for those who like to wear it around every day while keeping their hands free.

Verdict

The SAVAGE MODEL 111 DOA HUNTER XP .30-06 RIFLE would certainly impress you right out of the gate if you’re hunting for a .30-06 rifle that will wow you right out of the gate.

What isn’t to like about this weapon? It comes with a decent sight, a lot of firepower, and the ability to be a force to be dealt with in the hunting fields. You’ll be ready for a long time if you have this gun.

3rd Best .30-06 Rifle: REMINGTON 783 COMPACT 30-06 4 ROUND BOLT ACTION RIFLE

Best .30-06 Rifle: REMINGTON 783 COMPACT 30-06 4 ROUND BOLT ACTION RIFLE

Pros

  • Very easy to sight in, great for beginners
  • Accurate & tight shooting groups
  • Smooth & reasonable recoil
  • Nice & clear image of the scope

Cons

  • On the heavier side

What the Buyers reported

The majority of the most current purchasers were blown away. The lens was remarkably straightforward for a generic brand scope, and it was accurate in most hunting scenarios, according to them.

They were able to hit a variety of big game targets, including deer and hogs, with pinpoint accuracy from a variety of distances.

Why we recommend it

The rifle itself feels like a traditional hunting firearm. Many years earlier, your father or grandparents could have hunted with this. Of note, the same can be said about a large number of bolt action hunting rifles.

The main exception is that this rifle has been revamped to look more modern. This ensures you’re dealing with a weapon with a tough synthetic stock that can have more protection and won’t be damaged if you’re stuck in bad weather.

Who should buy it

This rifle is just for those who consider themselves to be serious bolt-action rifle enthusiasts. In reality, while hunting big game, it’s one of the most common rifle models.

If you want consistent feeding with only one push of the trigger, you can give this rifle a closer look.

What, if anything, should be improved, and why

To make the scope adjustments for windage + elevation a little smoother is an improvement that can be done. 

This way, coping with shots that are too far to the right or left won’t be almost as aggravating (or too high or low). The quicker they are to adapt, the easier.

Verdict

If you’re searching for a weapon that can be your perfect hunting companion, the REMINGTON 783 COMPACT 30-06 4 ROUND BOLT ACTION RIFLE is definitely your best bet.

You’ll have a lot of fun knocking down the next objective, no matter how far you go, with a total of four rounds and a smooth running bolt action at your side.

4th Best .30-06 Rifle: WEATHERBY VANGUARD SELECT 30-06 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE

Best .30-06 Rifle: WEATHERBY VANGUARD SELECT 30-06 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE

Pros

  • Very powerful rifle
  • Great accuracy
  • Awesome for hunting & target practice

Cons

  • Scope should be added

What the Buyers reported

This rifle has received a lot of favorable feedback from recent customers. According to one customer, the gun is solidly built and shoots like a champ. He also said that the weapon is more precise and has less recoil than other rifles  of the 30-06 caliber. Since buying it, he’s been able to catch some hogs and a whitetail deer.

Why we recommend it

The rifle is the ideal compromise between a high-quality and an inexpensive rifle. Indeed, if you’re on a budget, it’s one of the best options. Aside from that, it’s a traditional bolt-action type weapon constructed of the finest synthetic materials, crafted for hunting. As a result, it has the ability to last years, if not decades (so long as you take great care of it).

Who should buy it

Those looking for a decent hunting weapon on a tight budget can find this useful. They’ll use it for just about every hunting application where a .30-06 rifle is suitable after they’ve obtained it. Deer, hogs, and even moose are examples (if you live in areas where they are legal to hunt). You have a rifle with enough stopping strength to take them down every time.

What, if anything, should be improved, and why?

Obviously, any re-designing is possible in this case. Especially if you want to add a mount to your rifle so you can use your favorite scope that is compatible with  Rifles of the 30-06 caliber. This way, if you really want to, you can easily improve your accuracy with this rifle. You should definitely buy  a scope for it.

Verdict

The WEATHERBY VANGUARD SELECT 30-06 SPRINGFIELD RIFLE could be just what you’re searching for if you’re looking for a great .30-06 rifle without breaking the bank.

It’s the type of rifle you can afford, but if you get it and fire it for the first time, you’ll feel like it was a steal.

5th Best .30-06 Rifle: BROWNING BLR LIGHTWEIGHT WITH PISTOL GRIP

Best .30-06 Rifle: BROWNING BLR LIGHTWEIGHT WITH PISTOL GRIP

Pros

  • Bullets feeding is very reliable & faster than normal 30-06 rifles
  • Trigger pull is very smooth
  • Very good build quality

Cons

  • Not for beginners

What the Buyers reported

Recent buyers were swift to praise the lever action as one of the best features. They were  able to load and reload their weapons quickly. This will provide them with enough time to align their rifle with their planned objective and fire a shot.

They quickly concluded that this weapon is well suited for those who seek to enhance their timing between loading the rifle and launching a shot before missing the objective.

Why we recommend it

A lever action is likely to be marginally superior to a bolt action. At least, that’s what certain veteran firearms owners claim. After all, if you want quicker loading and reloading, a lever action rifle is a great choice. That’s what this gun will do. Aside from that, it’s another.30-06 rifle with a low recoil straight out of the bag. In our view, this is indeed a bonus.

Who should buy it

This weapon would be seen by those who have long used a.30-06 rifle and wish to switch from a bolt action firearm. It can also be used by shooters who want to spend as little time as possible with the loading phase to have a shot in the chamber as soon as possible before writing another “one that got away” tale.

What, if anything, should be improved, and why?

One of the aspects we think should be improved is the addition of a mount for lenses or sights that can perfectly co-witness with the front scope. This will undoubtedly offer snipers an edge, allowing them to become the field’s most dangerous sharpshooters.

Big game targets will never be able to compete with anything so strong and precise. Particularly when two eyes are working together.

Verdict

The Browning BLR Lightweight .30-06 weapon is an excellent option, if you want to conserve time rather than wasting it while shooting your gun.

Don’t be shocked if you give it a shot and discover that it outperforms the bolt action weapons.

Brands to watch out for in the 30-06 Rifle Market

Since the 30-06 is one of the most common rifle rounds for shooting, there are several brands to choose from while purchasing the Best 30-06 rifle. Let’s have a look at some of the most common 30-06 rifle brands.

Savage Arms

Savage Weapons, established in 1894, has a long history of manufacturing guns. Despite its long tradition, Savage Arms has kept up with new developments and distinguished itself by creativity and consistency. The business also created a number of inventions that aid in making their rifles some of the most reliable on the market.

Their Accutrigger and Accustock also aid in improving the precision of their rifles significantly. By including a very low trigger pull weight without the safety issues, the Accutrigger tends to minimize the detrimental effect the gunman may have on precision.

Instead of engaging the action at either one or two screw points like most brands, the Accustock engages it over the whole length of the action and partly with the stock through an aluminum chassis. This are only two of the features that distinguish Savage Weapons in the 30-06 rifle market.

Tikka

In the United States, Tikka isn’t one of the most well-known rifle brands. As anyone fires a Tikka gun, though, they sometimes wonder why they aren’t more well-known. Tikka is a division of the Sako group that manufactures high-quality, reliable, and inexpensive rifles in Finland.

They concentrate on designing rifles that are extremely modular that can be customized to meet the needs of any shooter or hunter. Their weapons often stand out from the crowd thanks to the machining, construction, and technology they use. One feel of a Tikka rifle’s quiet and smooth bolt action, crisp and finely balanced trigger, and overall fit and feel can transform you into a lifelong fan.

Benelli

You might expect to see the Benelli name in a shotgun review, but their rifles also win them a place in this 30-06 rifles article. Benelli offers semi-auto and bolt action rifles, and applies the same layout and production methods that make their shotguns, such as the legendary Super Black Eagle and revolutionary M4 military shotgun, so enjoyable to fire to their rifle platforms.

Best 30-06 Rifles

The accuracy and dependability of a Benelli rifle are the last things on your mind. This are the firearms that you will be proud to own and hunt with for years with ease, success, and trust.

What are the different price categories of a 30-06 Rifle

The price of hunting weapons can differ greatly, which can cause some uncertainty during the purchasing phase. If you’re on a tight budget just hunting for a high-end weapon, there’s a 30-06 rifle out there for you.

$500 and Under

When your budget is $500 or less, there are some high quality 30-06 rifle choices to consider. Though firearms in this price range can lack some of the features seen in more costly rifles, that does not mean they aren’t worth buying or that they would fail you in the field.

Though you won’t be driving tacks at 500 yards with this rifle, it will be plenty effective for shooting at fair distances. Bonus: A scope is included with some rifles in this price category, including the Savage Axis II XP, which reduces at least one additional cost.

from $500 to $1000

When it comes to 30-06 rifle prices, this is also the sweet spot for many hunters. Rifles in this price category usually strike a reasonable compromise between affordability and higher-end functionality. The fit and sound of cheaper choices seem to be better, and you’ll generally notice more features and technologies. In this price point, you will find an incredibly high-quality bolt action 30-06 weapon that will last a lifetime.

$1,000 and Upwards

The best of the best 30-06 rifles will be identified after you cross the $1000 mark. It doesn’t say firearms at this price point are actually more reliable than their lower-priced equivalents, so whether you’re looking for a heritage rifle or just a rifle that doesn’t cut any corners, this is the price range to be at.

In this price point, you will find bolt action, semi-automatic, and even lever-action rifles. In this group, Benelli, Weatherby, and the high-end options from companies including Savage Arms all have rifles that suit the bill.

Best Applications for a .30-06 rifle

As previously said, the.30-06 is ideally suited for shooting. Hunters will do this to take down wolves, elk, hogs, and even tigers, to name a handful.

Best 30-06 Rifles

The explanation for this is that these weapons have a lot of heavy-hitting firepower, which you’ll need if you want to take out a large game objective with a single shot. It can be used for informal target hunting as well as hunting (which also includes test shooting so you can sight in a new scope or sight).

What is the accuracy of a .30-06?

This can be determined by the weight of the round itself.

The grain weight of 30-06 rounds would range from 140 to 180 grains. They have the ability to travel a long distance when they are shot from rifles with a lot of recoil. How much do you like to go? The majority of users claim to be able to hit their targets with effective precision from 600 to 800 yards out. This is a significant distance, especially for those who consider themselves to be long-range shooters.

How Did We Choose These .30-06 Rifles?

We didn’t just choose these rifles at random. These six were chosen based on certain unusual features that stuck out to us in some way.

When looking for your own.30-06 weapon, we suggest using the same approach we did. Here are some of the characteristics to keep an eye out for:

The cost

If you’re a bargain shopper, you’ll still hunt for items with a low price tag. This is not to be mistaken with the term “cheap.” Finding the right rifle you can buy in terms of cost is what affordable means.

Even if you have to go a little higher on the budget scale, it’s always preferable to opting for a shoddy rifle simply because it was inexpensive.

Performance

A few sub-factors influence performance: how light is the trigger pull weight? For your firepower, how many “oomph” are you getting? What is the maximum range of the rifle?

These are some of the questions to pose to get a clear sense of how well it can do in a real-world shooting environment (i.e.—the real hunting situations).

Build quality

We seek out rifles that will do you well for a long time. We’re talking years, if not decades, here. So look for a rifle made of high-quality materials. Many rifles, for example, have barrels made of stress-tested steel and a plastic stock made of polymer.

Why should I buy a  new .30-06 rifle?

There are several positives of using a completely new.30-06 rifle. Especially when you need one that will be the most effective for your needs.

Best 30-06 Rifles

Here are a few explanations why you should suggest purchasing one of these firearms for yourself:

It’s one of the best hunting rifles on the market.

It is the go-to option for hunters, at the risk of sounding redundant. It would be a big bonus if it has the potential to take out broad game goals. Especially if you’re a deer hunter rather than a varmint hunter.

It has the ability to endure a long time.

Hunters will touch objects from a variety of distances. It can go very far depending on the round you use. So, whether you want to shoot a deer or an elk from 100 yards or even 600 yards, you’ll probably need a weapon that makes it simpler to do so.

Trusted by the hunting community

The .30-06 has been around for a long time. How long you ask? It’s been over a century. As a result, there’s a fair possibility that one was shot by your parent. Your grandparents most likely did as well. For something that has survived so long and has been the go-to rifle for so many hunters due to its dependability and strong firepower, among other things.

Final thoughts 

Purchasing a new rifle may be a difficult task. With too many brands, features, specs, and price points to choose from, it can be challenging to feel confident about your decision. Fortunately, there is a wealth of knowledge available to assist you in making your decision, and this article is a perfect place to start when you continue your rifle shopping trip.

Remember to consider weight, optics, and construction quality when you browse, and you’ll be hard-pressed to go wrong when selecting the right 30-06 firearm for your hunting needs.

Questions people often ask about the 30-06 rifle.

When shopping for a new rifle, a lot of different information is tossed at you all at once, which may lead to a lot of confusion. For your ease, we’ve addressed some of the most important concerns people have while investigating 30-06 rifles.

What Does the Number 30-06 Indicate?

The cartridge fired by a 30-06 weapon is known as the 30-06 cartridge. The first number indicates the round’s caliber, and the second number indicates the year it was adopted.

Best 30-06 Rifles

The 30-06 (pronounced thirty-aught-six) is a .30 caliber projectile that was first seen in 1906.

What caliber is the 30-06?

A rifle’s caliber is the indicator of the bore and the ammunition that can be shot from it. The 30-06 is a sniper cartridge with a 30mm caliber. The 30-06’s caliber is measured in inches.

Can a .30-06 be used for hunting?

Yes, to summarize. This caliber rifle has been used to shoot game for decades by a large number of hunters. Deer, elk, hogs, and bears are among the common species for which they have hunted.

What Is the Range of a .30-06 Bullet?

If shot carelessly, every bullet fired from a weapon has the ability to travel hundreds of miles. Before pulling the trigger, a conscientious gunman would still be certain of their goal and what lies behind it. It’s more essential to learn the 30-06’s successful range for ethical big game hunting. While there are several factors to consider, including the cartridge, load, and gunman, the 30-06 may have an effective range of around 400 yards.

In MPH, how far does a .30-06 bullet travel?

It is determined by the bullet’s weight. A 165-grain projectile, for example, will fly at a speed of 2,800 feet per second. That’s around 2,000 miles per hour. A stronger projectile would, of course, travel at a higher speed. One will travel at speeds of up to 2,500 feet per second (1,700 miles per hour).

Is a .30-06 rifle good for hunting deer?

Without a doubt. In reality, the rifle’s stopping power is just right for taking down whitetail deer of different sizes.

Will a Grizzly be killed with a .30-06 rifle?

Best 30-06 Rifles

Although it is debatable, the majority of experienced shooters have killed grizzly bears with a .30-06. These bears may be hunted in areas where it is allowed.

Is it possible to kill a brown bear with a .30-06 rifle?

Yes, it is. If it can stop a grizzly bear, it can certainly stop a brown bear. Most sporting rifles in calibers smaller than a .30-06, such as the .308, can also do the trick.

Rifle cartridge .30-06 Springfield: Universal caliber for hunting and sport

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was once developed for military use. It is probably the most widely used caliber worldwide: a proven all-round cartridge for hunters and sport shooters. However, in view of all the new short rifle calibers for every purpose, the question now arises whether this classic is not now superfluous?

Americans have long boasted that the .30-06 Springfield is a “new” and “original” cartridge. In reality, however, it is merely a slightly (by 5 mm) lengthened 8 mm Mauser (7.92 x 57 mm) with a thoroughly American full-body .30 caliber bullet (7.62 mm).

How was the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge created?

First of all, connoisseurs of the subject may be surprised to learn that we will date the 110th anniversary of the .30-06 Springfield in 2016. After all, 1903 is usually mentioned in the technical literature as the year of introduction of the cartridge.

Best 30-06 Rifles

Basically, in that year, a predecessor of the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was introduced for the Springfield 1903 orderly rifle, based on the Mauser cylinder bolt action. This is also known as .30-03 or .30-45. Three years later, the case neck of the .30-03 was shortened by 1.8 mm, following international trends. The cartridge was also equipped with a lighter 150 Grains pointed bullet. The background: At 823 m/s, it delivered significantly more energy than the original .30-03 with its heavy projectile.

Like the 8 mm Mauser, the .30-06 Springfield caliber developed in a long process to its present form. At the beginning of this development was the .30-03 cartridge mentioned above.

The birth of the .30-06 Springfield

The improved version of the .30-03 was introduced under the official name “Ball Cartridge, caliber .30, Model of 1906”. Strictly speaking, this was the birth of the legendary .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge. It was the first rimless ordonance cartridge to replace the .30-40 Krag.

Although the .30-06 could be fired from the old Springfield rifles with .30-03 barrels, the precision was extremely modest due to the short case neck.

In 1926, again following trends from Europe, a new .30-06 military laboratory was introduced in the United States with 172 grain heavy projectile. To improve external ballistics, it had a 9-degree torpedo stern. The muzzle velocity of this “Ball Cartridge, caliber 30, M1” was 823 m/s, the same as its 150-grain predecessor. However, due to gas pressure problems it was reduced to 805 m/s.

But there were functional problems of the Garand self loading rifle with the 172 Grains M1 ammunition. Thus, in 1940, the 150 Grains was finally reintroduced as the “M2” version.

Universal caliber .30-06 Springfield for hunters and sport shooters

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was used in the two world wars, where it gained a good reputation. After the wars, the military had so much ammunition left over that it was also made available to private customers. As a result, the popularity of the universal caliber exploded – an all-round cartridge for both hunting and sport shooting.

The service career of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge as the primary ordnance caliber of the US Army ranged from the two World Wars to the Korean conflict. It only ended in 1957 with the introduction of the first Garand rifles in .308 Winchester, after the caliber 7.62 x 51 mm had already been chosen as the official NATO orderly caliber in 1954.

The roots of the .30-06 Springfield, like those of many other cartridges, thus lie with the US military. The name also reveals the real date of its introduction: While .30 indicates the caliber, 06 stands for the year 1906.

Best 30-06 Rifles

Even though the .30-06 Springfield has been out of military service for over 60 years, this versatile civilian classic is still one of the world’s most popular rifle calibers. Based on its metric dimensions, the rifle cartridge is also known as 7.62 x 63 mm. Currently, the caliber still leads the sales list of the major ammunition manufacturers in third place after the military used .223 Remington/5.56 x 45 NATO and .308 Winchester/7.62 x 51 NATO.

Even after 110 years, the .30-06 Springfield is still more popular – and more effective – than ever before: no manufacturer of hunting or sport ammunition can afford to do without the universal caliber in its range.

What are the technical details of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge?

With bullets weighing between 130 and 200 grains, this cartridge offers a wide range of applications in hunting. Thanks to the extensive range of charges and components for reloading, it can justifiably be called “the most versatile ammunition in the world”. To this day, the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge is a true milestone among gun and ammunition platforms due to its many advantages.

The .30-06 Springfield is also one of the few calibers available for almost all civilian weapons – from single shot rifles to semi-automatic rifles, from cylinder-breech rifles to double-barrelled rifles. Even in military use, it has not yet become obsolete: many older .30-06 Springfield caliber rifles are still in stock with armed forces around the world. Therefore, the .30-06 Springfield can justifiably be called a universal caliber.

.30-06 Springfield (7.62 x 63 mm) cartridge profile

Bullet diameter: .308″ / 7,82 mm
Year of introduction: 1906
Maximum sleeve length: 63.35 mm
Maximum cartridge length: 84.84 mm
Sleeve base diameter: 12.01 mm
Maximum gas pressure (CIP): 3,500 bar
Maximum gas pressure (SAAMI): 4.1237 bar
primer: Large Rifle

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge is the first choice for wild boar hunting. Particularly in Europe, passionate hunters are convinced of the stability and power of the appropriate hunting ammunition. Their success in selective hunting methods, however, is rather mediocre – at least in Europe.

In principle, it performs solidly in this area, but hunters prefer lighter and faster ammunition – which is a pity, because with the wide range of bullet weights, the .30-06 Springfield really doesn’t have to hide behind the competition.

The application areas of the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge

… are absolutely versatile. The large caliber cartridge is suitable for medium to large game – except for pachyderms and large buffalo. Here in the USA it is a kind of “national cartridge” and the most sold and most shot hunting caliber of all. In principle it is “shot at everything that moves”.

In addition, the .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber is also extremely popular as precise competition ammunition. With bullets ranging from 150 grains to 180 grains, it delivers the best performance, even at long distances.

Even with heavy 220-grain bullets, the results are still quite acceptable, but this is the limit. A 150 grains bullet from a .30-06 caliber cartridge achieves a muzzle velocity of about 850 m/s and a performance factor of about 400 kg/m.

How good is lead-free hunting ammunition in .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber?

Even in the age of lead-free hunting ammunition, the .30-06 still has a right to exist. All well-known manufacturers offer the corresponding factory ammunition as well as reloading components. Some popular brands can be mentioned here: Barnes TSX, TTSX, MRX, Norma Kalahari, Norma Ecostrike, Hornady GMX, RWS Evolution Green, RWS HIT and Winchester Power Core 95.

Best 30-06 Rifles

In principle, copper, brass or tombac solid bullets provide a higher penetration depth in the target than conventional lead core/jacket projectiles. The result is an increased probability of a reject.

In addition, lighter bullets can be selected – in terms of penetration depth, these are also in no way inferior to conventional bullets and also have a more rapid trajectory.

Our conclusion on the .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber

To answer the question asked at the beginning: There are certainly some wonderful new cartridge developments with potential. But even after more than 110 years, hunters and sport shooters alike do absolutely nothing wrong with this tried and tested classic in the shape of the .30-06 Springfield.

After all, it is not without reason that this is probably the most popular all-round caliber with which almost all game species worldwide have been shot. Accordingly, this rifle caliber will probably continue to be available in abundance for the next 110 years.

30-06 – American Versatility

The 30-06 (7.62 x 63) cartridge was introduced in 1906 as a US military cartridge. Until today it is one of the most popular hunting cartridges worldwide. Most authors describe it as a kind of universal cartridge for medium-heavy game – with the weaknesses and limitations that such a claim entails.

Ernest Hemingway described the 30-06 in “The Green Hills of Africa” as a girl for everything and used it accordingly versatile. Just how much the claim of the universal cartridge really applies was demonstrated by the legendary American hunter J.Y. Jones, who, as described in his book “One Man, One Rifle, One Land”, hunted down every American species and subspecies with the same 30-06, a Remington 700 ADL – from polar bears to jaguars in Mexico.

The 30-06 originated as a military cartridge for the US Rifle, .30 caliber M 1903, manufactured by the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. After three years (1906) the ammunition for this weapon was revised and the 30-06 Springfield cartridge was created (with a bullet weight of 150 grains).

After the First World War it was reworked and was called (now with 174 grains) .30 M1 Ball cartridge. A further revision (now with 152 Grains bullet) led to the .30 M2 Ball cartridge in 1938.

Best 30-06 Rifles

The 30-06 has always been a very American cartridge and still is. Further inspired have such hunters as J.Y. Jones or US shooting legends like Jeff Cooper have further enhanced the cartridge’s fame, who stated: “The classic 30-06 of the United States will do anything that a rifle may be called upon to do, which includes the taking of all forms of live targets, from prairie dogs to Alaskan moose, and it is superbly suitable for fighting.

Contrary to this myth, he chose the newer .308 for his concept scout rifle on the grounds that “The ideal cartridge for a general purpose rifle is the 30-06th.

The 308 however, offers nearly the same performance in a shorter package, reducing the total amount of metal necessary in the action. So little is the myth valid in the face of similar performance.

Nevertheless, for the author of this article it was of course not only, but also the American aspect of the cartridge that made it desirable to own a weapon of this caliber. Just as it seemed desirable to him to own a Colt and a Smith & Wesson – other American legends.

Expert opinions

Bob Forker describes the cartridge in his standard work “Ammo & Ballistics” as follows “The 30-06 is the standard by which every other U.S. cartridge is judged. Conceived in response to the embarrassment inflicted by the 7 x 57 mm Mausers in Cuba in the Spanish-American War, this cartridge, when first developed, was little more than a 7 x 57 necked to a .30 calibre. … The basic design of U.S. military rifle ammunition changed very little until the 7.62 NATO cartridge (.308 Winchester) was adopted in 1952.

Manfred Rosenberger writes about the 30-06: “No other ammunition has ever been offered in such a large number of different laboratories, and no other ammunition proved to be more versatile in hunting practice”.

Best 30-06 Rifles

And Norbert Klups states: “With the right bullet, the .30-06 is a universal caliber for medium-heavy game at normal shooting distances. … As far as the powders are concerned, the medium-quick types dominate … but with heavy projectiles, the somewhat more progressive burning propellants … can be used very well. … The choice of bullets is enormous”. To say that the 30-06 is highly controversial is certainly wrong.

Paper Ballistics

As I said, the ammunition supply for the caliber 30-06 is huge – especially in the US. Comparing the 30-06 with the 300 Winchester Magnum and the .308 Winchester, it becomes clear how close the three cartridges are today:

Overview (all three cartridges from Norma/Oryx)

Bullet weight
1) 30-06: 200 Grains (there are also 180 Grains)
2) 300 WM: 200 Grains (there are also 180 Grains)
3) 308: 165 Grains

Muzzle velocity in m/s
1) 30-06: 800
2) 300 WM: 850
3) 308: 835

Muzzle energy; or energy after 100 m in joules
1) 4162; 3321
2) 4698; 3772
3) 3728; 2978

Shot at 100 m results in a deviation in mm at 150 m of
1) – 49
2) – 41
3) – 42

As little as “paper ballistics” is meaningful. It becomes clear that in standard hunting situations the 30-06 has more energy and higher bullet weights than its more modern sister 308. At 150 m, the deviations from a 100 m spot shot gun are similar for all three cartridges – namely between 4 and 5 cm.

Different use cases

Without a doubt, the 30-06 is an absolutely suitable cartridge for American hunting grounds:

  • Almost all manufacturers and importers operating here offer weapons and interchangeable barrels in this caliber
  • the range of ammunition easily available here is gigantic and inexpensive ammunition is available
  • not least because of this range of ammunition the caliber is suitable for small predators up to heavy cloven-hoofed game
  • the characteristics of the ammunition match the conditions of the hunting grounds (distance) and the game (resistance and size)

The 30-06 is suitable not only for the Ansitz and stalk-hunt (that comes too briefly anyway in the US), but also for the driven hunt. As Norbert Klups correctly writes: “The common standard cartridges .30-06 Springf., 8×57 IS and the 9.3×62 have proven themselves.

The same applies to the 8×57 IRS, .30 R Blaser and 9.3×74 R rim versions. Of course, there is nothing to be said against using Magnum cartridges such as the .300 Winchester Magnum or the 8×68 S on driven hunts, and many hunters do this with great success, but these calibers cannot play off their real advantages here and the hunter has to accept the disadvantages such as heavy weapons, high recoil, expensive cartridges and greater game destruction at short distances”. There is nothing to add to this.

Apart from the domestic hunting ground, the 30-06 is also a good choice for hunting abroad – unless it is defensive big game (e.g. the Big Five or brown bears) or larger antelopes or it is a question of larger shooting distances.

As Gregor Woods writes in “Rifles for Africa”: “Your safari may be for nondangerous game only and may take place on one or two bushveld game ranches, in which case a .30-06 loaded with 220-grain bullets will be sufficient for everything, unless you want to include Eland.

Best 30-06 Rifles

The author can agree to this with restrictions. Not only did he see an already welded eland that – in an emergency situation, fired at with the only weapon available – could only be shot after six hits with the 30-06 (three of which were very well placed). He also saw an Oryx that could not be killed despite a lung hit with a 30-06 (but a 180 grain bullet).

Therefore he would agree with the restriction that the 30-06 is certainly very well suited for smaller antelopes like Impala, Bushbuck, Reedbuck and secondly in a terrain like the Bushveld of South Africa with shorter shooting distances also for larger antelopes.

It is similar with black bears at relatively short shooting distances (i.e. at the bait and with dogs, but not with Spot and Stalk). There, the cartridge is recommended by many of the most experienced guides (as in the excellent book “Ask the Blackbear Guides”):

  • Outfitter Joe Jakab says “There are many good choices, and I don’t have a favorite. Any gun that shoots a bullet over 150 grains will work well, although a heavier bullet is better. I like the 30-06, the .35 and the .45-70.”
  • Outfitter Horace Lane explains “For bears, caribou, or moose, I unequivocally recommend the .30-06. It’s my personal choice and I find it really effective”.
  • And Claude Turcotte adds “A 30-06 is ideal if the hunter can shoot it well.

Less specific are the men’s statements about the best shots at Schwarzbär. One recommends the Nosler partition (180 grains), another says “heavier bullets are prefarable”.

Craig Boddington, despite the hunting legends that have killed all North American game with the 30-06, says “If you could do it with a .30-06, you could probably do it more effectively with a .300 Magnum”. If it is not necessary to shoot at a distance of more than 150 m, this may be doubted.

However, one of the main reasons for him (besides the safety reserve of a stronger cartridge) is the joy of considering and handling the special weapon and ammunition for the respective hunting operation – who could not understand this?

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